In this article

Clients engage us to help them with technology solutions to operational challenges of all kinds — including the need for a sensible migration path to enjoy the advantages of cloud computing.

Many do their research in advance, learning as much as they can about the capabilities enabled by placing workloads strategically in the cloud. Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting or questionable information swirling around out there, and sometimes clients are harboring inaccurate assumptions about what exactly "the cloud" is, what it can and cannot do, and what it takes to become cloud ready.

Here are five common misconceptions we've encountered from cloud clients. We hope these migration details can guide your most critical choices in leveraging the cloud as part of larger data center modernization and business transformation initiatives.

Misconception #1: Cost savings are the biggest advantage of the cloud

A cloud presence can provide cost savings, but it's by no means guaranteed. And savings are far from the biggest benefit. Instead, the real advantages of cloud computing are increased business agility, faster time-to-market and richer customer experiences. However, even those advantages are not a sure thing without a well-conceived, cloud strategy that includes:

  • Determining which workloads are appropriate for the cloud and which ones are better to keep on-premises.
  • Deciding whether your current IT infrastructure can support those on-prem workloads or if your data center environment needs to be modernized.
  • Assessing the size of datasets and understanding how the organization intends to use the data — a crucial decision for applications such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • For workloads deemed fit for the cloud, how much refactoring or modernizing is needed to optimize performance and control costs?

These are matters that should be settled from the start as part of a well-planned cloud journey that delivers the major benefits of agility, time-to-market acceleration and richer experiences. And if you do it right, savings are the icing on the cake.

Misconception #2: One size fits all

Cloud computing is not based on a general "cloud" reference architecture — your cloud presence should be a unique reflection of your stated business and investment goals.

Clouds come in different operating and deployment models: on-premises (private cloud), third-party hosted (public cloud), hybrid cloud and multicloud. The result is a constantly evolving array of technologies, services and capabilities from which to choose. And because every business requires its own approach to cloud strategy and optimization, it's important to define your business needs first. A few questions to consider include:

  • What are your criteria for cloud success?
  • What outcomes do you need cloud to accomplish as an organization?
  • What are your current cloud capabilities and resource investments?

Once you've established those and other metrics, you are positioned to set parameters, establish a holistic cloud strategy, and define migration and implementation plans.

To help customers choose from an array of technology options, we created our Advanced Technology Center (ATC), enabling customers to get hands-on experience with the latest cloud solutions — 95 percent of them based on Intel architecture — to find the ideal fit for their environment. In 2019, we launched its community-based digital platform, featuring hundreds of labs, demos and other resources from leading vendors. The ATC platform is available 24/7 to global IT professionals and decision-makers.

Whether a strategy calls for cloud-native, hybrid cloud or private on-prem resources, we work closely with Intel to optimize for the latest cloud solutions based on Intel technology for security, performance and agility — helping clients achieve their business outcomes.

Misconception #3: The cloud is a standalone solution

Some organizations perceive the cloud myopically as this separate entity with a specific set of workloads and functions — business continuity, test development, customer-facing internet solutions and so forth. But by managing the cloud in that restrictive fashion, you miss out on the greater potential of integrating the public cloud and on-prem systems for a true hybrid cloud scenario that provides agility, prevents vendor lock-in and lets you grow as an organization.

Integrating cloud resources enables a host of capabilities. One example is performing analytics in the cloud and circling telemetry back to users. Another advantage, computing at the edge, can bring capabilities closer to the end user and reduce latency. You have the flexibility to enjoy the best of cloud and on-prem services to build a truly unique solution. And, you can build operational models that can be leveraged across on-prem and cloud, versus separate models, for continuity as people move and teams grow.

Misconception #4: The cloud is not secure

This is perhaps the biggest misunderstanding. In fact, public cloud environments today are compliant across every security and privacy framework. Cloud providers now have some of the most talented security personnel available focused on pushing the leading edge of monitoring and advanced threat protection, 24/7/365.

Wary customers should be reassured by the presence of the world's most security-conscious entities that entrust their data to the cloud, such as the U.S. Department of Defense, financial services companies, healthcare systems and even security companies themselves.

With data centers around the world, public cloud hyperscalers today are uniformly compliant with the EU's General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) and country of origin safeguards. WWT and Intel, working together, have sharpened their focus on security to help allay customer concerns and promote greater cloud adoption. 

Misconception #5: The cloud's too complex

While it's true that cloud technologies might appear to be highly complex, with countless options for what shape your cloud presence can take, that's actually a good thing. It means you have lots of choices for creating a customized solution that is unique to your organization. The key is understanding the many technology components at your disposal or having the reliable advice of someone who does.

Data has gravity and it pulls things to wherever data lives. But by adopting microservices and leveraging a smart multicloud architecture strategy, you can arrange workloads to be easily moved between and among public and private clouds. With third-party support, you can leverage containers and automation and prevent vendor lock-in.

Bottom line: cloud "complexity" is a feature, not a bug – it provides a wealth of options to help you craft a truly customized solution based on your business needs. Remember, the technology works for you, not vice versa.

It all starts with a strategy to rise above the cloud

The best way to avoid these and other misconceptions is to take your time developing a sound cloud strategy and migration path you can follow with confidence. There really are advantages to a strategic cloud presence: greater agility, faster time-to-market, greater customer satisfaction, and enabling innovative capabilities across the organization.

But a word of caution. Rather than moving too rapidly or "going it alone," be sure all your assumptions about cloud migration and cloud optimization are correct. The key is to work with expert advisors who truly understand cloud technologies and their benefits — experts who can educate you on the pros and cons of any given approach, help you develop a strategy free of misconceptions, and then help you integrate your preferred cloud operating model into your existing IT environment.